The upcoming test for FC Barcelona will be their final one before the international break takes off. Traveling away from home to face off against 19th-placed Granada, Barcelona will have to ensure they can get all three points before their break from club football.
Currently sitting on second place, Barcelona will want to make sure they remain hot on Real Madrid’s tail with their objective of challenging for the La Liga title being very much intact even now. Hence, Xavi will want to play as strong a lineup as possible to get the best possible result.
With Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Pedri, and Frenkie De Jong still out injured, Barcelona will have to make do with the players currently at their disposal and find an effective game plan that could harm Granada at their home.
Here is how FC Barcelona could potentially line up against Granada:
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
Barca’s number one and a German international, Ter Stegen has been crucial to the Catalan club’s season so far. His shot-stopping and distribution were both vital against Porto and will undoubtedly be called upon once again when facing Granada.
Right-back: Joao Cancelo
Sublime in both attack and defense thus far, Joao Cancelo is showing no signs of slowing down. On loan from Manchester City, the 29-year-old has all the qualities to succeed at FC Barcelona and has been showing that all too well since his arrival.
Centre-back: Jules Kounde
Finally being allowed to play as a central defender, Jules Kounde’s insistence has truly paid off. The French defender has arguably been the best player for the team in terms of consistency this season and will be raring to keep this fine form of his alive and ongoing.
Centre-back: Ronald Araujo
The Uruguayan defender returned to the starting eleven against Porto. Alongside Jules Kounde, he gave a proper defensive display of strength and rigidity. The partnership between the Uruguayan and the Frenchman is arguably the team’s strongest defensive pairing, and Xavi will be hoping to be able to count on them for the rest of the season without any unwanted setbacks.
Left-back: Alejandro Balde
Full of life and energy, Alejandro Balde at his best is a massive boost for Barcelona. However, recent performances have lacked and it will now be up to the young fullback to regain the full faith of his coaches and fans of the club as he builds his momentum once again.
CDM: Oriol Romeu
Barcelona and Xavi reportedly maintain full faith in the abilities of Oriol Romeu. Despite his rather vulnerable display against Porto, it is likely that he will get another chance to shake off the bad feelings when Barcelona travel to Granada for matchday 9.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan
The German international remains crucial to the plans of Xavi Hernandez. His technical brilliance and footballing maturity are both real assets to Barcelona and he has come in handy on several occasions, with his assist against Porto providing the goal that won Barca the match.
The youngster picked up a red card against Porto that will see him suspended for the next European clash in the Champions League. However, he remains eligible to play against Granada in La Liga and will likely make the most of this opportunity.
Right-winger: Lamine Yamal
Despite going off in the game against Porto due to some health issues, Lamine Yamal is now back to full fitness. His dynamic abilities will come in handy for Barcelona if his teammates are able to find him on a regular basis against Granada.
Centre-forward: Ferran Torres
With Robert Lewandowski out injured, there is a great possibility for Ferran Torres to take his place. Given his recent goal-scoring exploits, the Spaniard will want to provide a good showing in order to properly compete for a starting role within this Barcelona team even once Lewandowski returns to full fitness.
Left-winger: Joao Felix
The Portuguese star has been instrumental since his arrival in the summer. On loan from Atletico Madrid, the 23-year-old has finally gotten the chance to play his own brand of football with the Catalans and it is paying off extremely well.